In 2265, humanity has reached the threshold of technological development. The Earth has become a nearly inhabitable planet, left with biological weapon use, nuclear-powered warfare, and human experiments that go beyond today's standard of morality.
A scientist working in a biological weapon lab accidentally breaks a tube of Virus X, resulting in a global pandemic that changes the entire faith of humans on Earth. A mutation of virus X – now called delta-X quickly transforms human dead bodies into rotten, ravenous zombies seeking human flesh. People are left to live in ceaseless terror.
The unaffected become scavengers. They start collecting resources, establishing clans and communities, and cherish a dream of rebuilding the world. People have to learn to confront herds of zombies, protect themselves from evil corporations and try to survive in the universe of “Dark Land Survival”
2265, Earth, where human civilization has been flourishing for the past 80 years due to staggering technological breakthroughs. Off-world explorations, Mars colonization, Venus base establishment, and beyond Oort cloud zone expeditions have become familiar concepts. A special fleet was sent to the Alpha Centauri star system 70 years ago, with the ambition to go even further. Although the mission was a failure, it also provided humanity with a lot of scientific knowledge about a strange planet 4.5 light-years from Earth. Due to the publishing of new findings of those planets, the human society on Earth has lost its balance and become more unstable than ever.
Since the unsuccessful attempt of exploring the nearest planetary system, humanity has been divided by half, following two contradicting political spectrums. One is the innovation-led group, influenced and controlled by a federation of supreme governments and tech giants. They want to invest heavily in bioengineered weapons and space science - with the ambition to go back to Alpha Centauri and establish the first interstellar colony in human history. The other half, victims of social fundamental problems such as poverty and hunger, criticize the other group for wasting resources. They can sacrifice anything to narrow the increasing gap between rich and poor as well as to save the world which has been damaged by destructive geopolitical factors for 700 years.
In a pseudo, illiberal democracy, power lies only in those who own financial and political strength, and now those who control the most developed technology are the new rulers. They dominate people by their giant tech corporations, sponsoring new technology projects - most of which are lunatic and delusional research to serve one purpose: reinforcing mankind's military capacity for out-world facility establishment.
To ensure safety, they built a city on the outer rim of the Earth - Caelum. Flights to the periphery are commercially operated and as bustling as traditional aviation. Caelum is the safest place, hiding under the gravity of the Moon and the Earth, gathering the most elite and richest people on the planet. Imagine one day you enjoy your dinner in an all-glass shelter, and you are able to see Saturn and its sparkling silk in the distance with your naked eyes. Above your head is the bright moon, and the Earth seen from afar is a giant piece of land, with a curved shape that undeniably makes it spherical. The splendid, serene, and gentle Earth can be observed from space.
People on the ground, unfortunately, have a different fate. Occasionally, thermonuclear explosions occur underground, or on the sea surface in the Pacific Ocean. People live in constant fear that they avoid thinking about the horrendous consequences of radiation and air poisoning. There are medical companies led by corporations, but how can they afford medicines when they still have to face hunger and poverty?
But that's not the worst thing happening in the world right now. There are also things that cannot be seen, hidden in the darkest places that people have no clues about. Even the most evil, vicious and immoral people on Earth are reluctant to admit that they are artificial, made by humans.
One early morning in August, at a science lab in Guam - Western Pacific, scientists in hazmat suits were debating a scientific name for a new variant of virus: Delta-X. They agree that Delta-X has the ability to inhibit sympathetic nerves and strengthen muscle tissue, increase hearing and vision. But in the opposite direction, it inhibits respiratory system, causing skin tanning, epidermolysis and bone edema. Not only that, it has the ability to spread very quickly in a humid, warm atmosphere. Experiments on primates have shown positive signs, they have become warriors who can break the jaws of a half-ton crocodile. And they're trying to experiment on people too.
Five days later, ships in 70 miles radius saw a bright light with smoke rising over the island, helicopters from the 9th Fleet flying in and out with haste. Looks like they're evacuating. Scientific documents, samples and laboratory supplies are rushed on board. The staff were hurried and silent, but there were a few, still shocked under their masks from what they had witnessed, unable to maintain such concentration. While the heart rate went up to 160 times per minute, a loader accidentally dropped a package at the foot of the jetty, on the rocky reef. Scientific reports show that “this” usually turns out to be harmless in saltwater environments, so he just left the package there. Thirty minutes later, a cruise missile was launched from a satellite in the outer defense of the “City on the Sky” - Caelum, targeted the lab facility. Everything could have ended there. But that's just the beginning of a giant butterfly effect.
Eight days later, many people were found with severe respiratory failure, dark, cracked skin, blood pressure up to 300, roaring and biting. 27 days later, the number of people infected with this virus has reached an estimated 450 million.
Governments and corporations withdraw their men to the space belt, transiting into the “City on the Sky”. The army does not have enough resources, so priority is to focus on protecting the evacuation process. The elites boarded the shuttle, carried their pet dogs, walked leisurely, prepared for a deep sleep, dreamed of the dinner watching the peaceful universe.
The military was too busy protecting the evacuation process of the rich and the elites, no one really cares about civilians. At this point, whoever faster will live. Whether survive or not is up to God's will. When the screams became hopeless, when the emergency phone lines were no longer working, they realized that they had to do everything to survive. The survivors met in the wild, grassy lands, they gathered wood, stone and random materials to raise barricades, and build temporary shelters together. The strongest people were assigned to take arms to watch at the entrance gate, along with large guns emplacement.
It seems that the zombies are afraid of the smell of mint grass around the shelters, but not all zombies are. Sometimes the smell of living things is still more alluring, pulling them to the safe house of survivors group. However, zombies are only scary when they come in large number. It's very easy to kill them off one at a time if they go alone. One strike at the heart with a knife is enough to kill them. Just don't let them bite!!
A few months later, it seems the situation has calmed down a little. Stability in chaos, this is what we call the new normal. People got use to killing zombies, and even know how to attract them. Occasionally from early morning to mid-morning, survivors pull out a speaker to emit a 25khz sound, and the zombies will come in waves. And the soldiers - now heroes - kill them with all kinds of gun, even bows and arrows, collected and scavenged outside. At least killing zombies keeps them safe for a while before zombies from more distant areas arrive.
Caelum, the ultimate fortress in the sky, the last standing city of the humanity. Orbiting around the Earth, this safe haven is built by the rich and the elites to escape all the danger that scourging the globe. In order to get access to Caelum, one must be extremely rich, belong to the royalty or standing on top of their profession. Based on that fact, the city is divided into 3 regions: Rex, Regina and Eques
Rex is located on top of Caelum, consist of many golden castles and fortresses, with lots of magnificent shrines. This is where all the monarchs, the royalties, religious organizations and the governments gather. Rex is also the area with the tightest security in all Caelum. One must be recognized with extremely high regard to be able to set foot on Rex. Any intruder found will be immediately eliminated.
Located right below Rex is Regina. Population of Regina is consisted of all the richest people in the world: tycoons, businessmen and crime bosses. All the buildings in Regina are overflowing with glamour, with all the silvery waterfalls and sparkling diamond statues. The economy in Regina is the backbone of all Caelum.
And the last region in Caelum is Eques. Eques is the area surrounding Regina on the outer rim. This region gathers the most brilliant people in their own profession, from military soldiers to scientists. This is the center of newest science and technology for all Caelum. Eques is also in charge of the city military defense system and the portals to Earth. For all the people that want to go to Caelum, they must go through Eques first.
Despite all the magnificent and glorious appearance, it is undeniable that the people of Caelum had abandoned the humanity to die on Earth in return of a comfortable life. That is truly despicable. However, not all people on Caelum are bad. There still might be hope for the people on Earth to receive help from Caelum in this endless fight against the zombies.
The Resistance force was founded 65 years ago, when humanity failed to conquer the Alpha Centauri star system. The earliest members of this revolutionary faction consisted mainly of scientists, and the rest were populist politicians. These politicians hate the hypocrisy of the capitalist elite and the way they make money on the heads of the poor. And scientists criticize crazy experiments that don't really care about the safety of the people. For example, when the government tried to create a super small black hole - a supermassive mass with great gravity. To save money, the government conducted these experiments in Arizona. But even if these experiments were carried on in the middle of the desert, they are still too risky for the existence of the Earth. Eventually, experimentation devices were brought onto the Moon, and when the project was about to go to hell, they had to dump all the materials on a spacecraft and hurl it into endless space.
Initially, the Resistance force was set up to fight. But when fighting against governments and corporations in the name of the law was unsuccessful, they decided to build an underground army, prepared for revolution. However, at the moment the Zombie pandemic hit, they knew it was too late to make a revolution. What needs to be done now is to save the people and rebuild civilization that once was prosperous. Because after all, those super rich people have left this Earth.
Doctor Linus Leeds, one of the most brilliant minds of the century, also the top pioneer in biochemistry and genetics. Dr. Leeds is best-known for his work on genetic rearrangement to cure cancer and his remedy for cellular collapse. And now, he’s in the lab, researching on a variant of a virus specimen that was brought back to Earth from Alpha Centauri star system. This variant, Delta-X, will wreck havoc on entire humanity has it ever got out of the lab. It is believed to be the most dangerous virus known to mankind until this moment. Delta-X has the ability to inhibit sympathetic nerves and strengthen muscle tissue, increase hearing and vision. But in the opposite direction, it inhibits respiratory system, causing skin tanning, epidermolysis and bone edema. Dr. Leeds is working on the cure to this volatile virus and he is getting very close now. After all, he is indeed the most brilliant mind of the century.
While Dr. Leeds is drowning in his own thoughts, the laboratory doors split open. Standing right there are 2 figures, one is tall and muscular in a military uniform, the other is short. Dr. Leeds recognizes the short figure. It is Doctor Liz Whitman, one of his associates in the lab. It seems like Dr. Whitman is extremely stressed. She says:
- Dr. Leeds, this is General John Lason. He is here to discuss with us about our experiment on Delta-X. And he insisted on speaking with you.
General Lason speaks with a heavy voice:
- Good day, Dr. Leeds. I’m here to announce that the government will be taking over the Delta-X project. All files and equipment of this laboratory will be confiscated. You and Dr. Whitman will be out of this project and transferred to Eques on Caelum to work on other projects.
Hearing that, Dr. Leeds cannot control his anger. He shouts:
- You cannot do that!!! I nearly reach the cure for Delta-X. Without me, this project cannot succeed. I’ve seen what Delta-X can do. It is extremely volatile and will destroy everything if it ever gets out there!
In his mind, Dr. Leeds knows exactly what the government will do with Delta-X. In this political feud with the Revolution faction, the government will definitely weaponize Delta-X to prepare for the upcoming war. This will affect billions of innocent people. He cannot stay still to let this happen. Lason’s patience starts to grow short:
- Project Delta-X is the government property now. Your responsibility to the project is over. You do not have a saying in this matter. My men will escort you and Dr. Whitman to the evacuation site right now.
Dr. Leeds is furious. He nearly jumps onto Lason to punch him with all his strength, when Dr. Whitman stops him and whispers in his ear:
- Don’t do that. There is nothing you can do now. So we better off going with them to Caelum. Up there, you can finish your work in finding the cure and we can save all these people.
- If you get arrested now, it’s all over. You are the only one who can save humanity. Don’t worry, I’ve got your notebook right here with me.
Dr. Leeds starts to calm down. He says to Lason:
- Fine, you win, for now. We will go to Caelum.
Lason smirks, orders his troops:
- Take Dr. Leeds and Dr. Whitman here to the evacuation site. We will start the evacuation sequence immediately.
Two brilliant doctors follow two military men to the helicopter, watching their lab equipment and files taken away on the way out.
- I hope you’re right about this, Liz.
- Don’t worry, Linus. I’m always right about this.
Dr. Whitman smiles, reassuring Dr. Leeds on the rough future ahead of them.
One of the biggest problems for the survival groups at the moment is that their safe house is often greatly affected by weather and terrain. And on winter days without mint grass around the shelters, zombies come a lot more often and it's very hard to fight them off. So the survival groups understand that they cannot stay there forever with the lack of food, resources and materials. It is impossible to last in such a place.
One day, over the radio - an ancient technology of the 19th century but still being used by the survivors - they received an announcement from a strange radio station, claiming to be the Earth Revolutionary Alliance - temporarily called “The Resistance”. Through remote sensing satellite images and aerial photographs taken from the high ground, they say that there are lands that are safe, resource-rich, spacious, with clean water and relatively stable weather. However, for some unknown reasons, zombies tended to avoid these lands. This is not because of the mint grass smell they knew, but perhaps because of radiation or something special about the magnetic field from the ground. If these lands can be reached, then humanity can begin to rebuild settlements and grow again in the long term. The most difficult thing is: Zombies are not here, but they are very concentrated in the perimeter surrounding these lands, almost like there is an invisible force keeping them out.
But staying in safe houses forever is not a viable option. If people don't die from zombies, they will surely starve to death eventually. And sometimes hunger seems more terrifying than those zombies out there. So the survival groups begin their journey to the safe lands. Overcoming the dense layers of zombie, they now even see the appearance of animals, who also turned into zombies. But the land is small and the people are many. So not all survival groups can reach their destination, or even when they arrive, they still have to continue to fight, because the land is not enough for both parties.
After all, having a piece of land can help humanity begin to rebuild its civilization.
Back to the survival groups in safe lands. They began to settle down, build houses, grow crops, raise livestock, develop technology. They built miners in resource deposits. Wood, iron and rare minerals being the most essential, each mined with a separate tower type. These resources will later be very useful for upgrading buildings, even strengthening heroes.
One thing that is very characteristic of humans is that they live in groups. As they gradually settled in these Lands, they began to form a social mechanism like a clan. Sometimes people see people in this land wandering to another land to bring back something. It was no big deal at first, but then it got bigger and bigger. At first, it was a fun game for young men who wanted to prove themselves, later it got worse, because they left and brought back valuable things.
The new normal life has been stable for nearly 10 years. Zombies cannot be completely destroyed, they are too many. And there are even zombies that die and still come back to life. After all, they never had the concept of death. And now humans treat this zombie killing game as a sport, but their main job is to re-civilize, and it seems to have begun to accelerate.
To help each other in the same geographical area, alliances are formed. And the irony is, they have an inherent old notion of humanity, which is violence and war. No one knows what the people in Caelum think when they see these scenes, but the reality is that the human race seems to deserve punishment.
Alliances of survival groups (now thriving) form institutions like a miniature state. And these alliances compete for resources, resources, and technology.
What did people on Caelum do in these days? Just like in the Hunger Game, they seem to enjoy the game from above and look down to see what the Earth humans are doing. And to add to the fun, sometimes they send a special package to Earth, sometimes not to the land, but to random places, in the name of supporting humanity to escape the disaster.
But the disaster may come from the fact that people fight each other over those precious packages!
It’s a quiet night in the abandon city. All around, there’s only the sound of the zombie horde, growling and grunting. Without a target, the zombie horde just wandering back and forth on the ruined street. Here and there, some broken cars are lying domain next to deformed fences.
Suddenly, there are two shadows, sprinting and jumping onto the nearby hospital’s roof. They move quickly and quietly like two cats, leaving no sound or trace behind. These two figures have been sent by the Resistance on a scout mission in the abandon city. They’re known by members of the Resistance as Cindy Z and Meron.
Today, their main goal here is to scout for any new threat that might be dangerous to the Resistance, finding resources for survival and return to the shelter safely. This may sound extremely risky but to them, it’s just another walk in the park. After all, they are veterans and they had done this many times before.
As they arrive on the roof of the old hospital, Meron pulls out his sniper rifle to look around.
- Still quiet, there are a few zombies on the street like usual, but it shouldn’t be a problem – He said
- Alrighty, why don’t you jump onto the opposite building and watch. If you spot anything out of ordinary, alert me using the fancy laser pointer of yours. I’ll go into the hospital to sniff around for anything useful
- Proceed with care – Meron replied
- Of course, Your Highness – Cindy responded sarcastically
Just like that, they disappear from the hospital roof as quickly as they arrived. Cindy smells a musty stench right as she entered the hospital through the roof. As experienced as she is, she cannot help but feel the chilly atmosphere of the abandon building, as if something is about to jump right onto her from the shadow. But she calms down a little when she remembered that Meron is on the opposite building, watching her every move. That man is like a cat, his eyes can pierce through the night with his reliable rifle. She pulls out a laser pointer to send a signal to Meron that everything’s still alright.
On the opposite roof, Meron is watching every little detail with his rifle. Through the scope, there has been nothing and nobody can escape his sight. “Looks like another easy night tonight” – he thinks to himself. He watches Cindy combs through every little corner of the old hospital. In his mind, he has prepared for every scenario that can possibly happen. He’s a cautious man after all.
It might look like another easy night for him but in fact, the situation is slowly turning the other way. Behind him, a shadowy figure is climbing onto the roof without him knowing, silent and deadly…